Bulletin

Urban Planning and Development

Author: Elias Benhamou

More than ever, real estate development and urban planning go hand in hand, especially downtown. However, the urban planning guidelines approved by the City impose a regulatory framework on promoters that may prove to be challenging and restrictive.

Such a framework is essential to align real estate development with citizens’ needs and expectations and to promote a certain degree of urban coherence, both for rapidly expanding neighbourhoods (for example, Griffintown) and redeveloping neighbourhoods (for example, Mile End). Density, architecture, parking, green spaces, social and affordable housing, community facilities and schools are all governed by the City’s urban planning regulatory framework. Mixed use also forms part of these challenges, both for promoters and for the cities, but it takes years to achieve this much sought-after harmony for new neighbourhoods. In fact, the development plan for certain neighbourhoods has not yet caught up with the everyday reality of countless real estate projects and the vision of promoters.

In this respect, the City of Montréal, Ville-Marie borough, has developed a new internal structure that should make it easier for the various stakeholders to complete their real estate projects. Henceforth, the City will designate a coordinator for each project who will assist the promoter in all the necessary administrative procedures from the start of each major real estate project until completion. This continuity should certainly simplify and, above all, speed up the many steps involved, from the initial presentation to the City until completion of the project. This initiative, which still has to be tried and tested, looks quite promising.

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